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Thursday, May 4, 2017

I Need to Laugh

I feel guilty that I don’t read deep, BIG authors anymore. Who might they be, Donna?
I want to read them again. Really I do. They’re all word/story masters BUT in this age of Republican insanity, when every day brings new, reality avoidant, depressing and horrifying horseshit from those jackals in power, I need to laugh. Boyhowdy, yes indeedy! I do so much less of that now that The Amazing Bob is gone.

I need books which allow me to escape, even just an hour a day.

My go to authors for intelligent brain candy?
Christopher Moore – I’ve liked most of his work (A Dirty Job and Secondhand Souls were awesome!) but found Fool and Sacré Bleu wickedly disappointing. Dunno. Has he lost his touch or is it me?

Carrie Fisher – I reread Postcards from the Edge and it just didn’t grab me. At all. In fact, her jumping around, her lack of flow annoyed me more than her hilarious one-liners amused. I may try to reread another but, at this point, nope – not inclined.

Carl Hiaasen – YES, he’s got a new mystery out, Razor Girl, in paperback and I’ve just started it. So far, so weird and fun.

John Scalzi The Collapsing Empire, (a NEW series!!!) is out but only in hardcover (until January 2, 2018). I just looked – my local library has it now. Huzzah! This won’t be a laugh riot but that’s OK. A Scalzi novel is always a brill escape.

Sherman Alexie has a memoir coming out but not until June 13th (*sigh*). I’m doing the pre-order thing today. Yes, it’ll be hardcover (it’s SHERMAN fucking ALEXIE though!), no it’s not comedy but his wit rockets and glides even when speaking about soul searing depressing shit.
When she passed away, the incongruities that defined his mother shook Sherman and his remembrance of her. Grappling with the haunting ghosts of the past in the wake of loss, he responded the only way he knew how: he wrote. The result is a stunning memoir filled with raw, angry, funny, profane, tender memories of a childhood few can imagine, much less survive. An unflinching and unforgettable remembrance, You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me is a powerful, deeply felt account of a complicated relationship.
And I can try rereading Vonnegut (fer fuck’s sake). We have almost all of his books – The Amazing Bob and I were BIG fans. Perhaps I’ll start with Breakfast of Champions.

Help a book addict out, here. What other spirit buoying authors could/should I be reading?


  1. Different people achieve these escapes differently, I guess. When I need an escape from the dreariness of the political stuff, I usually go for science, history, or linguistics. Those things hold my attention because they interest me, and they're all based on reality and facts and evidence (even if there are still a few disagreements in those fields), not like politics where we're constantly dealing with malignant people in a state of paranoid war against reality itself. They feel "clean" by comparison. Richard Dawkins on evolutionary biology and John McWhorter on languages are very absorbing. For fiction, I read Mary Renault (an obvious choice given my interests), Larry Niven, some earlier authors such as Richard Matheson, HG Wells, and Mark Twain, and too many other odds and ends to list. Have you ever read Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, for example?

    I think it's really mostly a question of what interests an individual. If you find something interesting it will hold your attention; if you don't, your mind will start wandering back to whatever bullshit Trump and the wingnuts are pushing lately.

  2. Interesting! Getting out of my usual author/genre stream is a good idea.

    I haven't read Dr. Jekyll... in eons. Not since high school (which was, about, 12 centuries ago). Thank you for all the ideas!

  3. I love Thomas Pynchon but yeah, I don't feel as though I have to read him anymore.

    I like Christopher Moore, too, and of course Kurt Vonnegut. I don't really stick with one author anymore, though. I don't feel the need to be a completist. I used to feel guilty about that. But then I read Nicholson Baker (whose own "Mezzanine" is a wonderful and fast read), who felt qualified to write a book about John Updike even though he'd only read half of most of Updike's books.

    1. I haven't read anything by Nicholson Baker in a long time. I'll look for Mezzanine. For me, and reading the same authors again and again, it's about finding a "brand" that suits me :-) I'm sad when they no longer trip my trigger. Much of that, I figure, is about hating (or just not embracing) the search for new. I can be a wicked creature of habit...sometimes.

  4. Hi Donna. I found you through Rubber Shoes in Hell. I enjoy your authentic posts.

    Here are a few authors I like.
    - For light "chick lit" Katherine Center and Jennifer Weiner.
    - The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon will keep you busy. There are eight big books that combine time travel and romance in the 1700's. The characters are well developed and interesting.
    - Rita Mae Brown writes the Sneaky Pie murder mysteries. Each book has a separate narrative that follows the conversations between a Corgie and two cats.
    - Science Fiction (not fantasy) = Anne McCaffrey, Lois McMaster Bujold, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough and Robert Heinlein.

    1. Thank you, Pam! All those authors are new to me. Cool!

  5. Hi Donna,

    Nothing does it for me like Sir P.G. Wodehouse KBE. Especially the "Psmith" novels! I have no idea why I am (and have always been) such a sucker for 'Brit humor Lit'.

    1. Thanks Scott! Though I'm also a sucker for Brit humor lit, I've never read Wodehouse. Clearly I need to rectify this prob!